If someone has started a civil case against you in an Australian court and you’ve been served with the documents, you can ask for the case to be heard in a New Zealand court in certain circumstances.
You’ll need to ask the Australian court to suspend (stay) the proceeding.
You need to apply to the Australian court using their forms and processes.
A New Zealand lawyer is entitled to appear remotely before the Australian court when applying for an Australian court case to be stayed because it’s more appropriate for the case to be decided by a New Zealand court.
The application usually needs to be made within 30 working days after the day you were served with the documents starting the court case. You can ask the Australian court for a shorter or longer period to apply for a stay.
The Australian court can make a decision without holding a formal court hearing. If you or the other party asks for a decision to be made with a formal court hearing, then the court must hold a hearing.
If the Australian court holds a hearing, you and your lawyer are entitled to appear before the court remotely (for example, by telephone conference or video link) if those facilities can reasonably be made available.
The Australian court can stay (suspend) the proceeding if it is satisfied that the New Zealand court:
The Australian court will decide on the ‘most appropriate’ court by looking at:
Sometimes contracts say where a dispute about the contract will be heard. If this provision is an 'exclusive' choice of court agreement, then the court chosen in the contract must hear all disputes relating to the contract.
A choice of court agreement is exclusive if it is in writing and chooses the courts (or a specific court) of a specified country, to the exclusion of all other courts, as the only court to decide disputes between the parties.
Employment contracts and agreements mainly relating to personal, family or household purposes are not exclusive choice of court agreements.
The court won't enforce an exclusive choice of court agreement if:
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